Samsung investigates new Galaxy Note 7, one catches fire in China

It now seems quite likely that Samsung's nightmares are far from over, just weeks before its intended re-launch of the ill-fated Galaxy Note 7. Even as replacement units with promised safer batteries are starting to land in consumers' hands, reports are coming in that said units still exhibit problematic behavior like overheating or severe battery drain. And there is now at least one report of a replacement unit catching fire in China, a country were Samsung is already facing an uphill battle in the smartphone market.

It may have sounded too good to be true that Samsung already had "fixed" units available, but it is, after all, critical for Samsung to get its footing back as soon as possible. But just as haste may have caused the battery fiasco in the first place, haste may also be causing its continued problems.

Replacement Galaxy Note 7 units have already been distributed in South Korea, the US, and other markets, that, of course, come with the assurance of non-exploding batteries. While that may be true, save for one incident, the new devices still worry many owners because of reports of overheating even in normal use. Samsung assured customers that temperature fluctuations are normal in the course of using a smartphone, but customers report that their devices get too hot to even use. Some even shutdown.

Samsung's assurances also fly in the face of an incident in China, where a man reported his new Galaxy Note 7 catching fire less than 24 hours after having the replacement delivered to him. Details of the incident and the device are quite slim, missing important pieces of information like whether the device was verified to be a replacement unit. The owner refused to hand the device over to Samsung as he distrusted how the company would handle the matter.

In all these recent cases, Samsung promised to look into the matter, but, truth be told, it might already be too late for the phablet and the company. Samsung has received no small amount of flak not only for supposedly rushing the Galaxy Note 7 to beat the iPhone 7's launch but also in its handling of the voluntary recall. Samsung's reputation may also have already been irreparably tarnished in China, where it was already booted out of the top 5 smartphone makers.

SOURCE: Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg